Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 14
October 30, 2012 (Tue) - December 9, 2012 (Sun)
Mr. Go Seinosuke (1865-1942) was a prominent entrepreneur who was influential in the Japanese economic world in the period from after World War I to before World War II. He was successful in reconstructing many companies in financial difficulties, and served in important positions such as member of the House of Peers, president of the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and chairman of the Japan External Trade Organization. At the same time, he collected netsuke for over 25 years, with the whole collection being bequeathed to the Tokyo National Museum.
Netsuke were used as toggles attached to cords for hanging inro (medicine cases) and tobacco pouches from the waist. The custom of using netsuke was lost after the Meiji era in Japan, though netsuke themselves attracted art collectors from the West. As a result, many netsuke were taken overseas, and it is told that Mr. Go, who was concerned to see this dispersal of netsuke, began to collect them to preserve fine works within Japan and pass them on to future generations.
The works collected by Mr. Go, with their comprehensiveness and high quality, are renowned as the Go Collection among lovers of netsuke. Works by all the major netsuke artisans from the Edo period to the Meiji era are included in the collection. This exhibition is a rare opportunity for the entire collection to be displayed, enabling the viewing of various themes and styles through comparing actual works.